Kotiro Māori E – The story behind the waiata

Shot in 3 days in Mahia south of Gisbourne on the stunning East Coast of New Zealand this documentary was made by the passion that Sophronia Smith had for this story, Locus Creative helped her develop the story into this award winning documentary.

Kotiro Māori E: Māori Love Song Of Rongomaiwahine & Kahungunu
The story behind the waiata.

This film celebrates the waiata Kotiro Māori E, which is oft times recognized as an anthem for descendants of Rongomaiwahine and Kahungunu. It also acknowledges the origins of the rangi (tune) of Kotiro Māori e. The mele (song from Hawai’i) Kaulana Nā Pua was written by Eleanor Kekoaohiwaikalani Wright Prendergast in 1893.

She wrote it for members of the Royal Hawaiian Band who protested the overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalani and the Kingdom of Hawai’i. Kaulana Nā Pua is a Hawaiian patriotic song. The use of the tune from Kaulana Nā Pua for the waiata Kotiro Māori e has been a point of contention for some Kānaka ‘ōiwi (Native Hawaiians) due to the context of which Kaulana Nā Pua song was written. It was a time when American business men and their allies attempted to annihilate the people from Hawai’i. Uncle Tommie Taurima, as he is fondly known sheds light on his intention for using the tune of Kaulana Nā Pua when writing the waiata Kotiro Māori e. This film is about increasing understanding between Kānaka ōiwi and Tangata Whenua. It is also about acknowledging the significance of indigenous female political leaders, Queen Lili’uokalani and Rongomaiwahine.


Kotiro Māori E


Te Wānanga o Aotearoa


March 2014


Sophronia Smith

One Man Crew:

Ryan Baigent

Shot With:

Canon 7D

Client URL:

Click here to view the Māori Film Festival website page for Kotiro Māori E